The Ruff Ryders will forever go down in history as one of the most iconic collectives and labels in hip-hop. Managing the likes to DMX and The Lox, the name itself yields a certain lifestyle, while preserving that gritty, hardcore rap we all know and love.
Most recently, the founders of Ruff Ryders — Waah, Dee, and Chivon Dean — sat down with The Breakfast Club to unravel the label’s history and roster, digging deep into the inside scoop. At the end of the hour-long conversation (at the 54-minute mark), it was revealed that there was a time when DMX and Jay Z did not get along.
Besides the fact that Hov and DMX have worked together in the past, DMX wasn’t thrilled with Jay’s actions during his time as president of Def Jam. According to Dean, the explanation was simple: “egos.” Apparently, DMX wasn’t happy that Hov never leveraged his position to give him the assets he needed for his album.
Waah said, “Jay Z called X and told him ‘the inmates have took over the prison.’ When your man Jay Z got in position, X felt like he didn’t honor him and hold weight like he was supposed to.”
This reignited tensions from their infamous battle back in 1993. With both parties feeling like they were the winner, the end result left their relationship awkward — as a result, DMX was not exactly with the get down of answering to Hov as he became President.
Dee said, “In [DMX’s] mind, he was like, ‘I won, I’m better than you.’ When Hov wound up being president at Def Jam, he felt like he had to answer to him, and X didn’t like that. He felt some type of way about Hov dictating his future.”
Eventually, DMX left Def Jam and joined Colombia Records in 2006, releasing his sixth studio album Year of the Dog… Again. The plus side? Jay Z ended up clearing DMX’s debt at Def Jam, which amounted to $12 million.